Demonstration of technical and visual skills
My technical skills are far ahead of what I started out with. I soon felt comfortable shooting in manual. The low light work was an absolute eye-opener. Assignment 2 saw me making long exposures with a tripod, remote release, low ISO and narrow aperture – completely opposite to how I would have worked in the dark before the course. White balance was a great one to learn and important for Assignment 4. I struggled with confidence in Photoshop, but the exercises and feedback built my confidence and allowed me to rework Assignment 1 to something that I am much happier with. Visually, I think light and space have been triumphs – I learned to respect and handle the constant changes in light, and to see space as an entity in its own right. I’ve enjoyed choosing appropriate formats for each assignment, from online grids to postcards to albums, and have extended the range to miniatures and A2 prints for rework.
Quality of Outcome
Did my work do what I wanted it to do? On the whole, yes. I’m happy that my assignments have been carefully executed, from determining subject and scope, to research, deciding the images that I want and finding the best way to shoot them, to taking the photographs that I want (over and over if necessary) and presenting them in a way that complements, adds credence to, and helps to deliver, their stories. I’m not afraid to loosen control and see where that takes me, or to change direction if needed. Context is something to think about – my tutor explained the difference between in-picture context and out-of-picture context. I have enjoyed the exercises, and tried to give them as much creativity and care as possible. This resulted in several pieces of work that I would love to extend further. The staged photograph in assignment 3 is I think my weakest image but even so it still speaks.
“Even though the technique was given to you (painting with light), you have managed to transcend it and make it very much your own, creating images that use the blurring of longexposures to simulate the calotype as well as blur boundaries between the sexes.” (Tutor feedback A.2)
I’ve been thrilled with how my creativity has bloomed. I’ve enjoyed working with people and exploring themes that are relevant to many of us. I’ve learned to think creatively about the entire process from concept to rework. I’ve learned to cultivate creativity through research, curiousity, and fearlessness. I like to work with the shared experiences and with the “what ifs? ” of life. This approach, tending towards the conceptual, has been supported and nurtured by my tutor. I’ve learned that for me, making the image is only the beginning of the creative process, not the end. There’s so much more that can be done, so much to explore, so much to borrow from.
“… the main thing is to do it in your own way – you’ve found a ‘voice’ and you should try to develop that further.” (Tutor feedback A.3)
Context and reflection
I have felt increasingly surefooted here. I am a confident blogger and appreciate the resource that my blog provides for storing, organising, accessing and sharing my work as well as the value of other OCA student blogs. Equally, I’m confident that my blog is a good representation of my work and my process. My paper logs have evolved – one for notes and planning, and another that’s more of a scrapbook for inspiration, study visit notes and samples. Assignment 2 showed me the amazing contribution that careful research can make to planning, creating and delivering my work, and that changed everything. Internet, libraries, magazines, museums, personal networking, galleries and exhibitions (regardless of creative discipline). Tutor feedback has guided me (Sophie Calle and Edward Steichen were pivotal references) and I have a much clearer idea of my fledgling voice. I use the OCA resources for research and those of national and international gallery websites. I am active on the OCA fora and the Level 1 Facebook group and attend as many study visits as I can. Much of my coursework has depended on legwork and conversation – school gate, Facebook, making contacts and countless approaches by email/message/conversation.
“You have so much high quality coursework up there. But what really impresses me most is the range of feeling in your work, from the humorous ‘Sunnies’ and the story of ‘Cuthbert’ to more poignant images of braille and this assignment. There’s a lot of human emotion here, the good and the sad, and it all comes across with authenticity.” (Tutor feedback A3).
I love exploring families, life and history through images, and I have enjoyed using social media both as a research tool and as a subject in its own right (see Ex4.11 Emulation “katebook”). I found that the simple Exercise 3.7 A significant object, with mother and baby shoes, both suggested and demanded that I explore miscarriage for Assignment 3. I have also enjoyed developing the physicality of my images, from the unexpected 3d-ness of Ex 2.5 Composite Portrait through to the cutting and collage of Ex 4.1 Fragments, the joy of Ex 5.5 Flowers and the rework of Assignment 2 at large and tiny scales. I now quite like working with Photoshop and accept that even though my style veers towards the ham-fisted, it remains my style, and will evolve further over time.
“You’ve made amazing progress on this course and produced some truly memorable works.” (Tutor feedback A.5)
I hope this blog post, my work and my tutor feedback PDFs speak clearly of my journey so far. I have certainly tried to make the most of this opportunity and am indebted to my tutor and OCA staff and community for the support I’ve received. I am certainly inspired to continue. I would like to:
- build technical skills and be more disciplined
- build artistic polish
- be more competent with delivering in-picture context
- learn more about copyright and how to make the best decisions about incorporating public domain/found/shared images in my work
- learn more about art
- start referencing properly
- name my digital files more elegantly